If you are like most people, you probably don’t think much about your dogs feet. But that clickety-clackety noise your dog makes as he wanders around probably means his toenails are long. Many dogs never need their nails trimmed if they walk on rough surfaces such as concrete. However, in wintertime, when there is snow on the ground and nothing to wear down their nails, I’ve noticed that my dogs’ nails seem to get enormous quickly. Trimming your dog’s nails is important because if they get too long it can cause discomfort and pain (not to mention what they can do to your floors).
If you’ve never trimmed your dog’s nails, the prospect can be daunting. Speaking as one who owns three dogs (that’s 54 nails!), I know I dread it. But it must be done. You can use a couple of types of trimming tools. One type looks like miniature pliers and uses a scissor action. Another more common type uses a replaceable sliding "guillotine" blade. Either one works, but be sure that the blade is sharp before you begin.
When you trim nails, a lot depends on the dog. One of my dogs is extremely cooperative. I tell her to sit, pick up the closest paw and start trimming. However, the other two dogs are less thrilled with the idea. In cases like this, find a friend to hold the dog while you trim.
When you trim the nail, clip off only the end. Dogs have nerve endings and blood vessels inside their nails called a quick. If your dog has light colored nails, the quick looks like a dark line. You do not want to accidentally trim so close that you hit the quick. It can be difficult to see the quick on dogs with dark nails. So be very careful and trim off just a little bit at a time. If you accidentally clip too much, the quick will bleed. If this happens, apply pressure to the tip of the nail or dab on some styptic power. When it’s over, give the dog a treat, pet him, and tell him how wonderful he is. With any luck, next time will be easier.